Roberto Mancini arched his eyebrows and considered his response when questioned about Mario Balotelli’s latest indiscretion.
The Italian had been spotted rolling out of a Liverpool strip club in the wee hours of Friday morning, with Manchester City’s game against Bolton coming just 36 hours later on Saturday afternoon.
Having previously said he would give Balotelli a kick ‘up the arse’ for his eccentric behaviour, Mancini considered what his latest response would be to the strip club incident. ‘This time I would do it twice’ he reasoned.
Mancini’s frustrations at Balotelli are understandable; at the age of just 21 the former Inter Milan forward has racked up a charge sheet that even Ronnie Kray would think was a little bit excessive.
But what would the Premier League be without one of it’s greatest modern day mavericks? GMF is here to celebrate Super Mario’s eccentricities with some of his more peculiar stunts.
Evidently, it is always a dangerous game to play when Balotelil gets ‘bored’. Because when they £24 million man gets ‘bored’, he does very silly things indeed.
Back in March of last year Balotelli acted upon his impulses by targeting youth team players by throwing the darts at them from a nearby window. That little prank cost him a reported £100,000 fine.
Balotelli seemingly has expensive tastes and a knack of spending. One story goes that his mother, Silvia, sent him to buy an ironing board but he returned with a Scalextric, two Vespa scooters and a table tennis set instead.
However it was another excursion which proved a little more costly. Soon after he completed his move to Manchester City in August of 2010, Balotelli crashed his £100,000 Audi R8 on the way to training when he collided with another car.
When police arrived they found Balotelli carrying £5,000 in cash. When asked why he simply replied: “Because I am rich."
Another case of the devil making work for idle thumbs, Balotelli’s curiosity seemingly got the better of him in October last year after police and fire crews were called to his house in the early hours after the Italian set fire to his house by launching fireworks out the window.
Balotelli claimed it was a friend who lit the fireworks that caused the ‘substantial’ fire. Hillariously, he appeared soon afterwards fronting a fireworks safety campaign.
Even the man himself admitted he can sometimes go too far: "I’m not mad, not at all – even if sometimes I do things that are a bit strange."
For all the stories that surround Balotelli, the very least you can say about the tempestuous wonderkid is that his heart is apparently in the right place.
One story, reported in May last year, goes thusly: A young child approached Balotelli for an interview, but the Man City man was curious as to why the youngster wasn’t at school.
When told it was because he was being bullied Balotelli’s response was to drive the child and his mother to the school and then confronted the bully about his actions.
A ‘source’ said: "Mario feels strongly about bullying and thinks it’s out of order."
You had to feel for Balotelli when it was reported he was in hot water for going out for dinner on Saturday night with training the next day.
What was wrong with relaxing with friends of an evening, after all?
Most people’s sympathy waned somewhat when the same report revealed he had spent the night drinking and engaging in ‘playful sword fighting using rolling pins’.
That little indiscretion cost him a reported £150,000 in fines for breaking Manchester City’s 48-hour curfew before a match.
Mancini and Manchester City will have known what to expect from Balotelli, even during his time at Inter his erratic reputation was already firmly in place.
It seemingly runs in the family anyway because in October 2010 Balotelli and his brother Enock were detained by police after seeing an open gate to a women’s prison in Brescia and coming to the conclusion that they should check it out because they were ‘specially curious at the fact that it was a women’s prison’.
Police were apparently impressed by the pair’s curiosity, with his agent Mino Raiola claiming police ‘praised him for his initiative’.
Sadly, this story proved to be not true. Rumours swept across Twitter like wildfire late last year that Balotelli was driving around Manchester handing out cash to confused passers-by.
It is perhaps testament to his past record that few even stopped to question whether it was true, simply accepting it was fact because of the man involved. Stories claiming he had given a homeless man £1,000 after emerging from a casino are also said to fall into this category.
Even his manager accepted as much when asked about the rumours: "I don't know -- with Mario it is possible,’ Mancini said. ‘We should ask him. It could be, I don't know.”
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